Daniel and Berelyn Gillespie (my daughter and son-in-law who lead our sister congregation in Baltimore) sent this link.  It is part of the presentation of the Baltimore, MD Jewish community program for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).  It’s 15 minutes long, but worth watching.  The second link will take you to a resource page containing many survivor testimonies.  Hey, Holocaust deniers, deny that (expletive deleted).



Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Counting the Omer – Day 11

Here is the proper blessing to be said each day.  This is how Jewish people fulfill the command to count.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is one week and four days of the counting of the Omer.

As I promised yesterday, let’s take some time today to examine how the world takes our God-given desire to be fascinated and perverts it into ways that distract us from God.  Each of our longings is properly fulfilled in our relationship with God, and none more so than the desire to be fascinated and filled with wonder.  Each of our longings is also capable of being distorted into a force that separates us from God.  This is also especially true of the longing to be fascinated.

Only a few of these are intrinsically evil.  Most of them subtly lure us away from God.  Let’s make a short list… live theater, television shows (even news), conspiracy theories, political intrigue, sports events, movie theaters, music concerts, and amusement parks, just to name a few.

Rabbi Trail:  The key to understanding this principle is found in the word “amusement.”  A “muse” is anything or anyone that/who is a source of inspiration or helps us focus our attention.  The letter “a” in front of many words turns the meaning of that word to the opposite.  For instance, moral becomes amoral.  So “musement” becomes “amusement.”  Amusement does not help us to be inspired for God.  It does help us to lose our focus and attention.  End RT.

Each of these entertainment venues entices us into a love affair with nothing.  We adore actors who are good at memorizing and repeating what other people write.  Sports stars are boys and girls who can jump higher and run faster than other people.  We should elevate people based on their character, but few, if any, of these entertainment venues put a premium on character.

Through the entertainment venues of this world our fascination becomes the breeding ground for lust.  Only God is the authentic repository of our desire.  In God, our fascination grows into love.  Fascination itself is never satisfied.  In the world fascination is always looking for the next thrill (and never finding one that truly satisfies).

Fascination with God OTOH is also never satisfied, but when God breathes on our fascination it becomes a piece of eternity in us.  Our fascination with God becomes something we have to share with others, and the kingdom of God grows, both in us and through us.  So, as my friend Bob Bell would say if he were Messianic, “Go do Yeshua to someone today.”

Week 17
Memory Verse: Psalm 23:1 A psalm of David. Adonai is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

81    4/20      Monday:        2 Samuel 1-2:1-7
82    4/21      Tuesday:       2 Samuel 3:1; 5; Psalm 23
* 83 4/22      Wednesday:  2 Samuel 6-7
84    4/23      Thursday:      Psalm 18; 2 Samuel 9
85    4/24      Friday:          2 Samuel 11-12

Question of the day:  What is the Tabernacle of David?

Answer:  From today’s reading… 2 Samuel 6:17a They brought in the ark of Adonai and set it in its place in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it.  Between the Tabernacle in the Wilderness (called the Mishkan) and Temple of Solomon (called the Beit HaMikdash) there were 30 years in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept after being returned from the Philistines.

Rabbi Trail:  The “Mishkan” is the place of the “Shekinah” glory of God.  Can you see both words have the same Shoresh?  That Shoresh, “Shin-Kaf-Nun” means “neighbor.”  God brought His glory into the midst of the camp of the children of Israel, and became their neighbor.  Maybe one of our faithful Israeli RR readers will help me further with this.

The “Beit HaMikdash” is the name given to both the first and second Temples.  It means the “Sanctified House” or “Holy House.”  Mikdash has the Shoresh “Kuf-Dalet-Shin,” from which we get the words “Kodesh,”  “Kaddish” and “Kiddush.”  They all mean holy or sanctified.  End RT.

For 30 years there were no sacrifices before the Ark.  David’s tent was a house of prayer, praise and intercession.  David brought worshippers into the presence of God (before the Ark) with song, both voices and instruments.

David’s tent is also called David’s Tabernacle or David’s Sukkah (temporary dwelling).  And there is a promised revival of David’s tent… Amos 9:11 “In that day I will raise up David’s fallen sukkah. I will restore its breaches, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in days of old 12 —so they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations called by My Name.” It is a declaration of Adonai, the One who will do this.

Those verses made their way into the Acts 15 discussion so familiar to Messianic Jews.  In that “Jerusalem Council,” many of the Apostles and other leaders of the body of newly formed followers of Yeshua came together to answer one question; “What do we do with these non-Jewish followers of Yeshua?”  They wanted to know how Jewish the non-Jewish people have to be to walk with God in this Jewish movement of faith.

I will debate the merits of their discussion another time.  For now, I want to point out that Paul and Barnabas quote from Amos and rightly connect Amos’ vision of restoration of the Tabernacle of David to revival in the nations (among the gentiles).

Here’s the point.  Jewish followers of Yeshua are not going to reach their destiny without a lot of non-Jewish people coming along.  And neither will non-Jewish followers of Yeshua reach their destiny without a lot of Jewish people coming along.  So we may as well embrace each other and come along.  Ephesians calls this a mystery… Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are joint heirs and fellow members of the same body and co-sharers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the Good News.